Avian Migration — Alaska is a hotspot for migratory birds which come to the state seeking breeding grounds with plentiful food and few predators. Life isn’t easy for these far-flyers. Scientists with the University of California Davis’ Birds and Seasonality Project work to understand how migratory songbird species have adapted their physiology to thrive despite the challenges of unpredictable Arctic weather.

Migratory Birds in Alaska

[ video] Wacky Weather
[ video] Birds Across the Brooks Range
[ video] Where are the Nests?
[ video] Bugs and Birds
[ video] Birds and Their Backpacks

The Arctic is blanketed in snow for 9 to 10 months of the year. Then in May or June when the Sun shines long overhead, snow melt comes sudden. The Arctic can go from “White to dark in a space of a week.”

Alaska hosts birds from all over the world. Over 200 bird species have been recorded in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge alone. Many birds migrate to Alaska every warm season to breed. Migrating birds must live with the changing climate in their northerly habitat.

Unusual 2013 Alaskan spring storms negatively impacted migratory birds. Late storms created snow-bound conditions; birds were stockpiled along the Alaska Canadian border, unable to move north because of heavy snow and a dearth of liquid water.

Even once birds make their way through the snowy passes, they face extreme challenges.  They must court, breed and form pair bonds, build a nest, lay and incubate eggs, hunt, feed their hatchlings, then gain enough fuel to make the long distance return flight south.

Scientists featured here investigate how songbirds have adapted their physiology to thrive, despite the challenges of unpredictable Arctic weather.

People: Marilyn Ramenofsky, Jesse Krause, Jonathan Perez, Christopher Guglielmo, Simone Meddle, Rick Thoman, Zoltan Nemeth, Helen Chmura

Migration Over The Brooks Range (Liz O’Connell) Migration, Arctic Birds
Thousands of kilometers north – migratory birds and a shifting world (Laura Nielsen) Migration, Arctic Birds
Stressed out? Every year migratory birds battle stress, and win (Laura Nielsen) Migration, Arctic Birds
Mosquito netting, vacuum power, and bug science (Laura Nielsen) Migration, Arctic Birds
The albatross and the phytoplankton (Laura Nielsen) Migration, Arctic Birds, Climate Change
Fitness for birds in warming Alaska (Laura Nielsen) Migration, Arctic Birds, Climate Change


Migration project

Follow us:facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubeby feather
Share this:facebooktwittergoogle_plusby feather

Ask a Question or Contribute an Image